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jerryking : customer_service   25

Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
What consumers can learn from Donald Sterling’s ex
May 2, 2014 | Market Watch (Wall Street Journal) | By Quentin Fottrell

...recording calls has never been easier. Google Voice records incoming calls and, while Apple doesn’t allow the “Voice ...
customer_service  mobile_applications  Google_Voice 
may 2014 by jerryking
Manulife
Confirmation

Thank you very much for your Inquiry/Comment.

If you have indicated that you would like us to reply by: Email, Telephone; or Fax, we will reply to you within one business day.

If...
customer_experience  customer_service 
november 2013 by jerryking
Data Firm StellaService Raises Funds - WSJ.com
February 27, 2013 | WSJ | By DANA MATTIOLI.

StellaService Inc., a startup that measures customer satisfaction with online shopping, raised a $15 million round of funding to help broaden the amount of data it collects about retailers....The New York based company collects data on thousands of retailers, including Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +1.25% and Macy's Inc., using a network of mystery shoppers. It then ranks the retailers based on metrics including shipping speed, packaging and ease of returns.
retailers  data  funding  customer_experience  customer_service  customer_feedback  customer_insights  metrics 
february 2013 by jerryking
How to battle a dominant brand
Nov. 29 2012| The Globe and Mail | SUSAN KRASHINSKY - MARKETING REPORTER.

This emphasis on customer service, insinuating that dominance has made the competitor lazy because they can afford not to try as hard, is one way to challenge a highly dominant competitor.

Another way is to chip away at a niche segment the competitor may not be looking at. The sweetener product Stevia is currently attempting this. It is facing a very crowded market for sugar alternatives: Globally, roughly 50,000 tonnes of high-intensity sweeteners will have been consumed by the end of 2012. Aspartame accounts for about half of the market in terms of volume, according to Euromonitor International. Saccharine and sucralose, the ingredient in Splenda, also each have a healthy share.

The marketing for Stevia, like other sweeteners, revolves around a reduced calorie option for consumers attempting to keep a healthy lifestyle; with one difference. While other sweeteners are associated with being highly processed, chemical products, Stevia markets itself as natural.

“There’s such a demand for reduced calorie products, and because Stevia has that added natural benefit, it’s doing fairly well and competing for space,” said Lauren Bandy, an ingredients analyst with Euromonitor. That is despite the healthy debate around just how natural the product really is.

That niche demand has helped it land deals to be included in some high-profile company’s products, such as PepsiCo’s reduced-sugar juice Trop50, in Coca-Cola’s Sprite on a test basis in France and Australia, and in some Danone yogurt products. Stevia still only has about 2 per cent of the global market in sweeteners by volume, but that’s doubled since last year. Euromonitor expects its growth to continue at a compound annual rate of 23 per cent from 2011 to 2016.

But that strategy can also be used against underdog brands. One of the most powerful ways for a company to protect its dominance is to fragment the market pre-emptively, giving challenger brands no niche to use as a foot in the door, said Niraj Dawar, a marketing professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
brands  Nike  Stevia  Susan_Krashinsky  Google  search  Bing  market_leadership  Microsoft  underdogs  branding  product_extensions  niches  fragmentation  customer_service  pre-emption  sweeteners  sub-brands  category_killers  habits  barriers_to_entry 
december 2012 by jerryking
Danny Meyer Brings His Hospitality Expertise to Broadway - WSJ.com
August 8, 2012 | WSJ | By JENNIFER MALONEY.

Danny Meyer, the chief executive of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and other New York restaurants has teamed up with Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, creating special hospitality workshops in hopes of turning pans into raves....About 250 full-time employees from all of Jujamcyn's theaters and its corporate office have attended the workshops led by Mr. Meyer's consulting firm, Hospitality Quotient. At a session in a theater-district restaurant in May, the Walter Kerr Theatre's ushers, ticket takers, porters and box-office staff brainstormed scenarios....Hospitality Quotient and Jujamcyn declined to discuss the financial details of their arrangement. Jujamcyn said it is spending about $275,000 for the workshops and to cover the labor costs for staff to attend....Other theater operators say they, too, are trying to make going to the theater more comfortable. "We're all trying to make the experience better. … The theater owners are all taking steps, individually and collectively," said Nick Scandalios, executive vice president of the Nederlander Organization, which owns nine Broadway theaters. All three Broadway landlords participate in an audience-rewards program that offers points redeemable for tickets and seat upgrades, he said.

One challenge the effort faces: the tight space constraints of landmark buildings in which renovations would be costly or not permitted.
Danny_Meyer  customer_experience  customer_service  Broadway  loyalty_management  workshops  hospitality  theatre  management_consulting  experience  experiential_marketing 
august 2012 by jerryking
Winning Back a Lost Customer, Marketing Methods
Sep 1, 1993 | Inc.com |Susan Greco.

Tips on handling the loss of a major client.

The hot debate: how to recover from the loss of a major client. The setting: a roundtable on customer service at this year's Inc. 500 conference, our annual get-together for the fastest-growing small companies.
customers  customer_appreciation  customer_churn  tips  enterprise_clients  customer_loyalty  small_business  customer_service  turnarounds  win_backs 
july 2012 by jerryking
Serial entrepreneurs profit from past mistakes
Nov. 03, 2010 | Globe and Mail | CATHRYN ATKINSON. While
serial entrepreneurs bring a wealth of knowledge to a start-up in the
same industry, their business skills are applicable across a range of
endeavours.

“I enjoy being able to move between industries,” said Mr. Gustavson.
“There are things you need to learn about specific industries but
customer service is customer service. Whether you’re selling a widget or
foreign exchange, the customer wants to have a positive experience,
have value, and have it delivered on time.”
serial_entrepreneur  serial_entrepreneurship  start_ups  entrepreneur  customer_service  on-time  lessons_learned  mistakes 
november 2010 by jerryking
Airlines Work to Catch Up to the Digital Age - NYTimes.com
June 4, 2010 | New York Times | By JAD MOUAWAD. Airlines,
including American Airlines and Continental Airlines, have started
updating their systems. At its major hubs, including Dallas-Fort Worth,
American recently started using a technology called Yada — for “your
assistance delivered anywhere” — that allows its agents to promptly
rebook passengers on a different flight, advise on a gate change or
track down a lost bag. Travelers do not have to wait in line anymore.
airline_industry  travel  customer_service  airports  hubs  digital_strategies 
august 2010 by jerryking
The Ultimate Start-Up Challenge? Hyper Growth - WSJ.com
MARCH 10, 2010 | Wall street Journal | By TERI EVANS. Fast
growth is often an entrepreneur's dream, but it can come with
repercussions, including customer-service snafus and staffing chaos. If
not managed well, it can also wreck a company culture, which can put a
young company in "serious danger," according to Rob Wolcott, a professor
of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Kellogg School of Management.

"In many ways, culture is the one thing that gives you long-term
competitive advantage because it's something that is very difficult to
copy," .[perhaps see Paul Graham on doing things that don't scale] Mr. Wolcott says. "When growth becomes too hot to handle, so to speak, then everyone starts focusing on the urgent and sometimes misses the important."
growth  start_ups  challenges  size  scaling  organizational_culture  revenge_effects  competitive_advantage  uniqueness  customer_service  repercussions  staffing  chaos  high-growth  unscalability 
march 2010 by jerryking
My Week as a Room-Service Waiter at the Ritz
June 2002 | Harvard Business Review | by Paul Hemp.
Ritz-Carlton provides a good example of how employee engagement supports
its core customer service strategy. Part of the commitment of
Ritz-Carlton employees can be traced to how the company leverages one of
its great Genuine Assets, the Ritz-Carlton heritage and traditions.
Ritz-Carlton also carefully selects the right people through an
assessment system that focuses on personal qualities and attitude
critical to the company's success, rigorous training and reinforcement
of the Ritz-Carlton principles of customer service and process focus,
use of a guest-recognition database, and empowerment of employees to
take action to resolve customer complaints. Ritz-Carlton's employee
engagement and strategic communications activities are highly aligned to
support its competency strategies in operations, innovation, and
branding.
customer_service  employee_engagement  HBR  heritage  high-end  hiring  hospitality  hotels  luxury  process-orientation  Ritz-Carlton  selectivity  the_right_people  traditions 
march 2010 by jerryking
One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1) - You’re the Boss Blog - NYTimes.com
October 29, 2009 | New York Times | by Bruce Buschel. A modest
list of do's and don’ts for servers at the seafood restaurant Buschel
is building.
etiquette  restaurants  advice  lists  customer_service 
november 2009 by jerryking
Web Stores Tap Product Reviews - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 11, 2007 | Wall Street Journal | by MYLENE MANGALINDAN
customer_service  online  e-commerce  product_reviews 
may 2009 by jerryking
Building a Robust Customer Forum - WSJ.com
MARCH 6, 2008 article by RAYMUND FLANDEZ on how online forums
can serve as an extension of good customer service as well as a low-cost
way for small companies to drive sales.
customer_care  customer_service  Web_2.0  Raymund_Flandez  online_discussion_forums 
january 2009 by jerryking

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